Authorities in the Canadian province of Ontario stopped funding the Gambling Research Agency (GREO) and ordered organizations to stop working by mid-July. Representatives of the department criticized this decision and called it short-sighted.
The agency received funding in the amount of $2.5 million and was looking for new methods to identify and treat problem players. GREO experts have advised Canadian gambling operators, as well as various government organizations.
“The province of Ontario was an international leader in this area, people saw us as an exemplary model for reducing the harm from gambling. We hope to find ways to continue the work of GREO, ”said the agency’s general director, Trudi Kuosai.
She noted that the government is trying to expand the gambling industry. So, earlier, local regulators allowed casinos to offer customers free alcohol. The authorities believe that this will allow the Ontario gambling operators to compete with their American counterparts.
A spokeswoman for the Ontario ministry of health, Hayley Chazan, said the government had decided to review funding for some organizations. However, she assured that the province will continue to allocate $33 million per year to prevent Gamblers program.
Earlier, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford suggested to legalize online gambling, including sports betting and gambling. He believes that this will help to transfer the gaming industry in the legal field and provide additional tax revenue to the budget of the province.